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January 28, 2022


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Fabric University | Fabric Seminar | Fiber Characteristics | Bamboo
Fiber Characteristics

BAMBOO

Manufactured Fiber - cellulosic-based made from the pulp of the bamboo stem

CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Soft and Drapeable
  • Smooth and Luxurious to the touch
  • Good Breathability, Cool and Comfortable to wear
  • Anti-static
  • Strong and Durable
  • Abrasion Resistant

MAJOR END USES:

  • Apparel - sportswears, underwear, socks. T-shirts, loungewear/lingerie/sleepwear
  • Home Fashions - Bath Towels, Bedding

Background

Historically, the use of bamboo goes back thousands of years for items such as paper, building materials, weapons and needles, to name a few.  In the late 19th Century and the early 20th Century, bamboo was an important structural element in women's apparel, including uses in bustles and as corset ribs or stays.  In recent years, new fiber technologies have been applied to bamboo, which has made advanced fiber development possible.  As a result, bamboo is now being used in a broad array of textile and fashion applications.


Production 

Today's bamboo is a cellulosic fiber, made from the pulp of the bamboo stem.  Bamboo fiber is part of the bast family of fibers, which includes such fibers as hemp and flax.  Bamboo needs to be broken down with chemicals, and the liquid is forced through a spinneret to create the fiber.  This process, known as the viscose production process, is the same extrusion procedure used to produce rayon and soy fiber.

As part of the process of turning the fiber into yarn, the yarn is boiled in lye and soaked in carbon disuslfide.  This is not an environmentally friendly production process.   Bamboo fiber is also not inherently antimicrobial, as is sometime implied.  Bamboo produced using this method is referred to as bamboo rayon or bamboo viscose.

However, a more environmentally friendly process for manufacturing the bamboo fiber is being used in Europe.   In this process, the woody part of the bamboo is broken down from the walls of the bamboo stalk, and the bamboo fiber is crushed mechanically.  The raw fiber is then processed in environmentally-friendly enzymes, soaked in water, and washed.  The bamboo fiber is then spun into yarn, using the worsted and ring spinning system.  In fine counts, the yarn has a silky, cashmere-like touch.  The fiber can also be blended with Tencel®, cotton, and other fibers.  A similar manufacturing process is used to produce linen fabric from flax or hemp.  Bamboo fabric made from this process is sometimes called bamboo linen.  Developed in 2005, Litrax-1® bamboo process produces high quality bamboo linen that allows the fiber to remain strong and very durable.  The same manufacturing process is used to produce linen fabric from flax or hemp.

 

 

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